6th May 2010
Brethren,
 
Under normal circumstances  I would be addressing you this afternoon from the stage of the Southport Conference Centre but as we all know these are extraordinary times, unprecedented in our lifetime and one we hope we will never see again.
 
It has therefore been necessary to postpone Provincial Grand Lodge until, we hope a later date in the year.
The date of Provincial Grand Lodge 2021 has already been confirmed at the Convention Centre at Southport on the first Wednesday in May.
 
The pandemic has curtailed our Masonic activities since March and certainly, on the instructions of Grand Lodge this will extend until mid July at the earliest.
 
We can only hope that as many of us as possible will see this crisis through and I implore you to adhere to the lockdown instructions to the letter by staying at home and social distancing should you need to go out, and then only as an essential requirement.
 
Most of our membership falls in the vulnerable age group so it is imperative we take every precaution to safeguard their wellbeing.
 
I am saddened that we have already lost several of our Brethren to this virus, at this time I will not name them so as not to further distress their family and friends and God forbid there may yet be others added to our list of casualties.
 
At an appropriate time when the crisis is past we will name and honour them in an appropriate way.
 
At our Provincial Grand Lodge we would normally received many distinguished guests from other Provinces and we are sorry that the cancellation of the event has meant we are not able entertain them in our usual fashion. These other Provinces are in the same situation as ourselves as our own Executive would have visited about eight other PGL meetings in this lockdown period.
 
We had also been expecting the Deputy Grand Master Rt W. Bro John Prizeman to attend today and this brings a double disappointment to us.
 
I would like to thank all the members of this years Team of Acting Provincial Officers for their support on the designated visits to Lodges throughout the Province and the many other occasions they have attended meetings throughout the Province. I know they were well received from the host Lodges and enjoyed by all involved.
 
Prior to this emergency the Province was in good shape. From September to March our Lodges had Advanced 70 new candidates with some Lodges having to do double ceremonies and others planning emergency meetings to fit these in.
 
One notable double ceremony which I was pleased to attend was at Prescott Mark Lodge when Father and son Paul and Johnathan Holden were advanced. The Ceremony being undertaken in fine style by their proposer W. Bro David Rigby the Provincial Senior Warden.
 
So in real terms the province had been set for an excellent year when we hoped to see and overall step up in our membership and then everything ground to halt.
 
Notwithstanding this setback we hope that all the current Candidates for Advancement will, once our activities resume, become Mark Masons in short time.
 
I would thank all the Brethren of the Province for the excellent response to my rallying call last year to increase our membership in seeking out candidates from our Craft Lodges. We still have a pool of about 7000 Craft Brethren who are not yet Mark Masons, seek them out and introduce them to the Friendly Degree. Let us see if we can surpass this years numbers by next May and I extend that rallying call to you all again that our numbers should show substantial growth in the coming year.
 
Our growth is entirely in our own hands Brethren, it is up each one of us ensure this Degree flourishes for the future generations.
 
Our Web site continues to be an excellent vehicle for information and advertising with up to date postings almost every day on Provincial and Lodge news. I thank our web Master W. Bro Mike Beesley for his diligent work in keeping the website refreshed and vibrant.
 
On a sadder note we lost several of our older Brethren, called to higher service prior to the pandemic. Notable amongst these was RT W Bro John Graham Forsyth, know to us all as Jack, who had served this Province in many capacities over the years. All will be sadly missed.
 
The Provincial Executive have given me the greatest support once more this year and I thank my Deputy Provincial Grand Master V W Bro Geoffrey Lee for his very wise council.
 
I am sure we all are delighted to see Geoffrey back in good health after his problems of last summer although I must admit getting him to take smaller steps back into the normal pace of life was difficult indeed and I know that his wife Marrion had to keep him on constant watch to see that the did not do too much too soon.
 
Likewise the support my Assistant Provincial Grand Masters V W Bro Ian Nairn and W. Bro Giles Berkley who took on extra duties to cover for the Deputy Provincial Grand Master whilst he was incapacitated was very much appreciated.
 
The other member of the executive our Provincial Secretary W Bro John Bicknell has once more shown the value of having a well organised Secretarial Team to cover the administration of such a large Province.
I thank him, and each one of the secretariat for their unstinting efforts.
 
The Province continues to evolve, as all large organisations must do, so that we build a solid team for the future. Notwithstanding this there his no substitute for experience and we have been very fortunate over the past years to have had a stable platform to allow the Province to work to the highest standards.
 
There comes a time however when change must occur, sometimes by choice and at other times thrust upon us and to this certain changes in Province have been planned, and I stress planned to take us into the third decade of this century.
 
V W Bro Ian Nairn PGJO has indicated to me his wish to stand down as Assistant Provincial Grand Master after a term of nine years. This followed four years as Deputy Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies. It is in fact twenty years since Ian’s first acting Provincial rank, a very long time to be in active Offices in the Province.
 
I wish Ian well for the future and we are not losing him completely as he has already accepted several dates to represent at Installation Ceremonies this coming year.
 
Like wise W. Bro David Emerson PGSD will step down as Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies after nine years in office. In that time we have seen, under his guidance a Provincial  Assistant Grand Directors Team evolve. Six permanent officers all with experience in that field to assist in the Ceremonial work of the Province. This has led to a further step up in the high quality of our Ceremonies and Team Visits.
 
David has also been the driving force behind the new Provincial Director of Ceremonies Lodge which will be dedicated later in the year.
 
I have enjoyed the past five years working closely with David and am sure we will continue to see him, in a working role, at Provincial Grand Lodge.
 
W. Bro Arthur Robinson P Gr Stwd is to succeed as Provincial grand Director of Ceremonies.
 
W. Bro John Dutchman-Smith PAGDC retires this year after an eight year tenure as Provincial Grand Treasurer in which time the fiscal affairs of the Province have been in very safe and capable hands and I thank John for his dedicated service to the Office. W Bro Peter Taffe PGJD has been appointed as Provincial Grand Treasurer.
 
W. Bro Stephen Leach PGMO has indictated his wish to step down as Provincial Grand Chaplain but is to continue as Deputy Provincial Grand Chaplain. Stephen joined the Province on his retirement to Fleetwood from Cornwall where he had been Provincial Chaplain and also Assistant Grand Chaplain and I thank him for his dedication to the spiritual aspects of the Province.
 
And finally W. Bro John Bicknell is to retire vas Provincial Grand Secretary after five years, which followed four years as Deputy Provincial Secretary. I thank John for his input in ensuring the organisation and smooth running of the Province. W. Bro Andrew Dickson is to be appointed as Provincial Grand Secretary.
 
It gives me great pleasure to re appoint V W Bro Geoffrey Herbert Lee PGJO as Deputy Provincial Grand Master  and I look forward to our continued excellent working relationship and friendship.
 
Likewise I am please to re appoint W. Bro Giles Frederick Berkley PGJD as Assistant Provincial Grand Master and I thank him for his efforts on behalf of the Province.
 
Following the retirement of V W Bro Ian Nairn PGJO it gives me pleasure to appoint. W. Bro John Bicknell as Assistant Provincial Grand Master, which is just reward for his dedication to the office as Provincial Secretary. He will be invested at a later date due to the extraordinary times we find ourselves in.
 
My nine Special Representatives continue to give outstanding support, not only to myself and the Executive but also to the Lodges in their areas.
 
We have two changes in that line up to announce V W Bro Stuart Brackstone and Bro Graham Bailey have both tired from Office and I thank them for their valuable service in the two extreme areas of the Province, the Barrow, Morecambe and Lancaster area and the South East area around Urmston and Eccles.
 
I am pleased to announce that W, Bro David Sear and W. Bro Robert Allman are appointed as their replacements.
 
I thank all the Special Representatives for their contribution to the developments and well being of the Province.
 
Under normal circumstances at this stage I would be able to say that it will shortly give me pleasure to appoint and invest the Provincial Officers of the year but as we know this will take place on a later date as and when we are able.
 
However I congratulate W Bro David Winder on being appointed Provincial Grand Senior Warden and W. Bro Eric Hart on being appointed Provincial Grand Junior Warden. I look forward to working with them both closely in the coming year.
 
Likewise I congratulate all the Acting provincial Officers on their appointment or re appointments and am sure we will all enjoy the year ahead at Team visits and other occasions.
 
Congratulations to those Brethren receiving first appointment to past rank as a mark of their service to their Lodges and the Province.
 
To the Brethren that are to be promoted in Provincial rank I offer my sincere congratulations for your continued service to the Province and trust your new rank will bring you much satisfaction.
 
All appointments and promotions will become active as of Wednesday 6th May 2020
 
I offer my congratulations to those Brethren who are to receive Grand Rank appointments and promotions from June. Unfortunately the Grand investiture will not take place due to the lockdown but it is hoped that this event will take place in September.
 
Those Brethren are First Appointments
W.Bro Simon Dawes Ass G Reg
W Bro Paul Renton AGDC
W Bro Philip Watson G Stwd
W Bro Stuart Boyd PAGDC
W Bro Victor Norris PAGDC
 
Promotions
W Bro John. Bicknell PGJO
W. Bro Derek Horrocks PGJO
W Bro Andrew Dickson PGSD
W Bro Russel Greenhow PGSD
W Bro Arthur Robinson GJD
W Bro William Ainsworth PGJD
 
I look forward to joining them all at the investiture.
 
I trust that we will all come through the current crisis to meet in the near future and Mark Well Together
May the Great overseer keep us all safe under his care.
 
Rt W Bro Keith Beardmore
Provincial Grand Master